From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Sunday Swoon. September 22nd 2013.

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George the Dog John the Artist

George the Dog John the Artist

1. Any Shoreditch local will recognise George the Dog and John the Artist from his usual spot outside Dishoom on Shoreditch High Street. John Dolan is an amazing London artist and has often found himself homeless, I got to meet both man and dog. He has sat sketching the ever-changing surrounding area over the past couple of years and this has resulted in his first exhibition, hosted by Howard Griffin Gallery. Well known street artists have collaborated with him for the exhibition. When I visited all but one of his paintings had been sold, one that praised David Cameron on a bill board (yet look closer and you’ll see what John really thinks, don’t be fooled). The exhibition is due to end this Thursday but Bird at the gallery told me they’re hoping to extend it. Do whatever it takes to visit. My cockles are throughly warmed this evening.

by John Dolan

2.  I have just finished Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins by Grace Maxwell. Told from Grace’s, Edwyn’s wifes, point of view after he unexpectedly suffered a stroke in February 2005. An honest account of the long road to recovery, the effect it had on both Edwyn and his family, the small and significant triumphs, the precious moments of laughter and the steely determination it takes to keep taking one step at a time. A book that will make you count your blessings and help find perspective.

3. Solange has released a video to accompany her amazing track Lovers In The Parking Lot. I desperately want light up laces and acid house pants now. Stylish and sharp. Oh to have one bone as cool as her in my body.

E.Mono Shawarma

4. I’ve been meaning to visit Kentish Towns E. Mono since Giles Coren gave it a glowing review in 2011. Slightly tipsy I stumbled in there Saturday, finally at a meaty mecca. I don’t care what zone you live in this place is worth the trek. Friendly service, the shawarma was stuffed full of sweet tasting pickled peppers, crunchy red cabbage, shredded salad, chilli  and garlic sauce with chunks of partly fatty, part crisp chunks of lamb. All for £5.

5. Finally the latest video from Local Natives for Ceilings. Hummingbird has to be one of my favourite albums this year. This song wraps up the summer for me, especially seeing flashes of Glastonbury in it.

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I Dream Of Silence

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It’s been a little while since I blogged about Tinnitus, seven months have passed since I wrote my last post I Dread The Quiet Of The Night. In October’s Cosmopolitan I get to talk about Tinnitus in an article called Just Be Quiet by Rosie Mullender (and I truly thank her writing about this). Today I met my new Doctor (not Capaldi), back on another NHS waiting list as I transfer to a hospital closer to where I now live. It seemed like time to blog about it again.

2013 is speeding past me in a blur, I can’t help but feel the older I get the quicker twelve months pass. Come November it will be two years with Tinnitus. I’d love to type that since I was diagnosed medical research has come on leaps and bounds but it seems stagnant. A woefully underfunded area and still little, at best conflicting, understanding around the condition. I am still as much in the dark as I was two years ago. But not alone in the dark, I am with my ever buzzing and ringing companion. Never completely in the silence.

But I am also very much not alone in my waking hours either. Since I started blogging about Tinnitus I have received emails from sufferers. A dear friend has also contracted it and we nudge one another to remember earplugs at gigs. Over dinner last week I chatted to my neighbour, a fellow sufferer. And you know, if there’s one little positive it’s having people to talk to about it that know exactly what it’s like. That you don’t need to try to reach for the words or comparisons. A look says it all between two people who know what it’s like to lie staring at the ceiling unblinking and frustrated. Honestly, unless you have experienced it I don’t think you can quite understand the levels of borderline insanity it can send you at times. I hope that you never do and wish none of us ever had.

Look after your ears beautiful music lovers.

Written by Anon PA

September 9, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Sunday Swoon. September 8th 2013.

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1. I always feel it’s terribly cliché to describe a track as haunting but I guess a collaboration between Natasha Khan and Jon Hopkins was always destined to be just that. Garden’s Heart is simply stunning.

2. I recently had the honour of hearing Margaret Atwood speak at Queen Elizabeth Hall. It was an inspirational reminder that I was lucky to be part of the generation that grew up with the likes of her and Kate Bush as role models. She was sharp, witty moving and wise and it’s an evening I will cherish forever. If you have never read any Atwood for some bizarre reason start with her poetry and The Handmaid’s Tale.

3. One  of the many terrible woes of suffering from Tinnitus is resisting the temptation to blare out tracks like Sleigh Bells Bitter Rivals through my headphones. Huge excitement that a third album is due out in the autumn.

4. Finally Gold Panda pays homage to Peckham is his video for Community. Making me think I really do need to drag myself south to nose at what’s happening down there.

Written by Anon PA

September 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Sunday Swoon. 25th August 2013.

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1. Anna Calvi is, for me, one of the strongest songwriters to appear in recent years. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her live twice and to those lucky enough to have tickets to see her at the beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall know that my jealousy runs deep and bitter. ‘Eliza’ is the first new track to surface from her second album ‘One Breathe’.

2. I read a book made for hipsters this week and I’m OK with it. Office Girl by Joe Meno is definitely one for the people of Dalston. People on bikes under the impression they’re the next big art movement. It has genuine charm and I found myself understanding and sympathising with characters I thought I would loathe.

3. I went to see Frances Ha on Monday and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since (my first visit to the tarted up Barbican cinema which is a gorgeous space and only £6.00 a ticket on Mondays). Directed by Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig plays Frances with a deadpan sincerity in the tale of a friendship moving into more grown up stages of life. But mainly I took away from the film that you need to be the happiest version of yourself possible in life. It was inspiring and I’d happily pay to see it again for that feeling.

4. Mikal Cronin’s MCII has been my summer soundtrack. He was spectacular at the Lexington and really hope there’s appetite for him to come back and tour the UK so more people get to see him live.

5. Finally, feels like autumn is almost at the doorstep in Mount Kimbie’s new video for ‘Home Recording’.

Sedum Trays (Dirty Fingers)

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Yeah I’m blogging about Gardening now. Glance around my flat and you’ll see an abandoned vintage typewriter, knitting needles wedged on top of some books, my acrylic paints are under the TV, remnants of last years Sloe Gin are on our (dwindling) drinks shelf, my bike is outside and now I have a sedum tray at my feet. I am a hobby whore. I will never settle on one thing long enough to perfect it. A sentence that can be applied to most areas in my life.

My mum is an amazing gardener. When we first moved into the family home when I came along thirty-five years ago our gardens were paved over, not even a weed poked through the concrete. My mum turned them into a brightly coloured haven, carefully choosing plants to attract our disappearing butterflies and bees. Last time I was at home she made me think of gardens as an art form. “Think about all the colours you see around you in nature. It’s like picking out colours you’d want to paint with.”

alpines

Having just moved into a flat with the luxury of some outdoor space we set about making a sedum tray. It’s like building your own miniature garden. When you head out to a garden centre (or my favourite Columbia Road flower market) you’ll need a decent size pot and then chose a mixture of succulents and alpine plants (ones that effectively thrive well in hard conditions and grow well when clumped together).

fingers

Prepare your pot by lining the bottom with a smashed old plant pot (obviously not the plastic ones) which will help with the drainage. Mix some grit in with your soil (as they don’t like getting too wet). Don’t bother wearing gloves, I think there’s something about getting dirty hands that is far more satisfying. Just make sure you pack the soil tightly between each of the plants you put in and don’t pack it out too much, remember these plants will blossom and grow! The photo below was taken the moment we put this together, now the plants tumble over the sides or reach up to the sky.

Sedum trays don’t need a lot of care which is what makes them so perfect (it helps that succulents retain water). You won’t need to water it constantly every 7-10 days. Just make sure you snip off any dead flowers to make room for new ones to grow. Like getting a fringe trim!

sedum tray

Finally, here’s a gardening inspired playlist for you all, featuring Bat for Lashes, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Jeff Mangum, Wild Nothing, PJ Harvey and more. Enjoy.

Written by Anon PA

August 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Sunday Swoon. 11th August 2013

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1. I know Animal Collective were brilliant at Field Day despite being so drunk I don’t remember much of it, just more of a positive and definite feeling in my bones. This week they released their official video for ‘Monkey Riches’.

2. Summer Camp have returned with ‘Fresh’. I’ve seen them a fair few times now and they’re always an utter joy live, Elizabeth Sankey has a voice that any music lover should experience live. Huge excitement for a new album.

3. MGMT perhaps overdoing the obvious symbolism slightly in their video for new single ‘Your Life Is A Lie’. Awful live in my experience but always a good running soundtrack so hoping the album helps me escape from lethargy.

4. Hugely looking forward to the Manchester Warehouse Project in November. One of the nights we’ll be going to is Field Day presents… Curated by Four Tet and Caribou. Looking forward to hearing ‘Kool FM’ live.

5. And finally even though this a very old track I have spent the past four days in my own all girl version of this video, driving around the locations in Metronomy’s video for ‘Heartbreaker’ on a break to Devon with two ace friends (not on a weird Metronomy pilgrimage, just by chance). Just to say a huge thank you to both of them for such a brilliant time.

Sunday Swoon. 4th August 2013.

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1. Running until 29th September at Somerset House is I Only Want You To Love Me by Miles Aldridge. This is his largest retrospective to date and you’ll catch glimpses of how he sketches his ideas through to the final photo’s. His work focuses on women and colour and all his pieces certainly command your attention in their brightness and composition. Adored his take on religion especially.

2. New album from Fuck Buttons has been on repeat the past few weeks. Stalker and Hidden XS standout the most for me and it’s definitely worth listening to Slow Focus. Missed them at Glastonbury (clashed with The Rolling Stones) but hoping to catch them in London this September.

photo-106

3. Fika on Brick Lane has turned into a Wes Anderson shrine. Curated by Dani Wes Kingdom is littered with film references (even down to replica’s of Wes Anderson’s made up books from Moonrise Kingdom) to cocktails including a tiny fish in a bag, a nod to Life Aquatic.

4. By some kind of karmic luck (a contact at V&A and the kind Anna on Twitter) we managed to get to the long ago sold out David Bowie Is at V&A. Unbelievably moving and inspiring. Other curators take note, this is the future of exhibitions, the headphones worked on sensors as you approached displays. Do what you can to get along on its final week, and if you can’t work a miracle then you can book tickets to the live cinema event.

5. The strange but beautiful video to Earthly Pleasures by Villagers is on their website. Definitely one of my favourite albums from this year and the accompanying music videos are always worth watching.